TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- Coming off a 70-43 blowout loss against the Texas A&M Aggies, the Crimson Tide Women’s basketball team look to get back on track as they continue conference play against the twentieth ranked Lady Vols of Tennessee on Thursday night.
Tennessee is coming off of a three game losing streak but still remained the twentieth ranked team in the country entering their matchup with the Crimson Tide. Looking to get back on track and establish themselves as one of the top teams in the country they would have to beat an Alabama team who are also coming off of a three game losing streak.
The first quarter was a tight back and forth style game with four lead changes. Alabama’s defense was able to hold Tennessee to just 39% shooting from the field while the Tide themselves shot better than 52%. This turned to be the key factor at the end of the first quarter as Alabama led 22-18.
The momentum seemed to be with the Tide as the second quarter went on with back and forth buckets coming from Alabama’s Cierra Johnson and Tennessee’s Evina Westbrook. The zone style defense continued to smother the Vols which forced them to shoot contested shots that did not seem to fall.
The outside noise of how the Tide looked on Sunday did not bother them as they held their own and went into halftime of the game still up by two. When getting the team motivated to finish the game strong Coach Curry said she told the team “ It was really important that we came out and be the aggressor….we were getting out rebounded by twelve so I thought we cleaned up the boards in the second half”.
The Tide did come out aggressive in the second half getting to the foul line fifteen times compared to only twice in the first half.
Ariyah Copeland was a big part of their surge in the second half as she dominated down low finishing with 16 points and 9 rebounds as they closed the rebounding gap to only five by the end of the game.
As the fourth quarter started and went on it seemed to be the Cierra Johnson show as she showed off her ball handling skills and was to be able to just ease her way into the paint for a layup every time she had the ball. A shot clock buzzer beater three pointer with only twenty five seconds left got the crowd on their feet and was a summary of how this game had played out in its entirety as Alabama outscored Tennessee 26-10 in the fourth quarter and won the game by an astonishing twenty one points 86-65.
Tennessee did not look ready for the type of push the Crimson Tide came out with and continued with for four full quarters as they shut down their offense and were able to finish the game still shooting above 50%.
The Tide will look to keep this momentum as they get into the bulk of their conference schedule and take on an LSU team who is coming off back to back losses against ranked teams. The game is set for this Sunday at 1pm here at Coleman Coliseum.
(Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics)